Monday, 30 July 2018


It was the Tour de France that really got me thinking especially when at the end of Wednesday’s stage Chris Froome was manhandled by an over-zealous gendarme under the impression poor Chris was an interloping fan of the sport not a contestant as he cycled back to the Sky team van.

Cycling can be dangerous, I thought, shivering as I recalled a personal incident of a few weeks back. I was crossing the road in Brighton as the green man shone signifying it was safe to cross. Not so. As I passed in front of the stationary cars I heard a wild cry and the sound of gravel being ripped from the road. I stopped (fortunately) as a Lycra clad cyclist sped through the lights frantically applying his brakes and crying “sorry, sorry, sorry!”

So do I have a thing about  cyclists? Yes. I think they are a mix of the sane, courageous, adventurous, stupid and thoughtless.  A friend of mine two of whose acquaintances had been left broken and bleeding on the pavement reflected “they’ll get me next.”

The killer words are on the pavement. Here in Brighton skateboarders and cyclists use the pavement as their own. And with rent-a-bike schemes like that sponsored down here by Santander and others people who’ve never cycled much before recklessly swerve along the cycle lanes and in gained confidence the pavements.

Chris Greenwood in the Mail Online wrote in 2017:
The number of accidents between cyclists and pedestrians has soared by almost 50 per cent in seven years. One crash on pavements or roads now takes place every day as the number of cyclists increases. The total number of accidents rose to 408 in 2015, according to official figures, a significant jump from the 274 in 2009.

Recently a rash couple visiting Brighton and imbibing its spirit of adventure decided to share a bike (big mistake) and were mown down by a police car they’d carved up as they attempted an illegal u- turn (huge mistake). Fortunately neither suffered from serious injury.

My own view when driving is to give cyclists free rein, to stop and let them pass and to brake and look twice always before turning left. I am metal. They are flesh. But I wish they’d obey the rules of the road. Red Lights. Zebra Crossings. Obeying speed limits.

In Holland there are bikes everywhere pottering along at less than twice walking pace. It’s brilliant, safe and a lesson to the apprentice boy-racers who terrorise us here.  Interestingly here it’s proper cyclists who are most angry about the hooligans who bring them into disrepute. In Holland they reserve speed for the track.

In Venice there are no cars or bicycles which is wonderful. In central London more and more streets are pedestrianised. The problem in the transition from the car is  threefold:- manners, road sense and speed.

Sadly whilst manners and road sense are in short supply on the south coast the sun is shining and life has slowed down.

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